Fitness for Body, Mind and Spirit

GreenNote Life

Fitness for the body, mind & spirit

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Five exercises to master for a better body...(Part 1)


In this two-part series you will discover five exercises to master for better fitness, better physique, and better health. By doing these with perfect form, you are well on your way to physical greatness. I incorporate each of these into my regiment consistently and continue to work on them. More on that later. In Part 1, you will learn the first three exercises. First exercise: Squat - Like it sounds, moving from a standing position to a ‘squatted’ position by lowering your hips and bending your knees. A squat is a natural human movement that has been forgotten due in part to the invention of chairs. Former NASA scientist, Dr. Joan Vernikos, has compared sitting in a chair for prolonged periods to being weightless in space. This is due to the fact that the muscles, bones, joints, and other tissues aren’t supporting themselves naturally any longer. Don’t make your chair do your work for you, get squatting (properly of course)!

Why I like it - The squat is a perfect way to effectively tone your thighs, butt and quads, burn a high number of calories in a short period of time, and boost leg strength for sport performance. Additionally, it mimics natural movement patterns in everyday life. In addition to strengthening the muscles, it also strengthens bones, ligaments and tendons which help prevent injury. Tips - Stand with feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Point toes slightly outward. Looking straight ahead, pick a spot on the wall and keep looking at it throughout the exercise. Knees should be over your ankles. They should not go past your toes as this puts stress on the knees. Keep your weight back on your heels with your feet flat on the floor. Lower your hips until your thighs are approximately parallel with the floor. In short, push hips back to initiate movement (not knees), keep head up, keep knees from jetting over your feet. Things to note - everyone is different and has different levels of mobility and flexibility. The guidelines listed above are just that. Guidelines. You may need to make some adjustments for what works best for you i.e. stand with feet wider apart. What to train towards - The first thing to work on is the proper form with using only your body weight. After that you can progressively add weight using barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, sandbags, etc. Level 1 - You should be able to do 100 bodyweight squats Level 2 - Be able to squat 1.5 x your bodyweight for five repetitions or 2x your bodyweight for one repetition Second exercise: Deadlift - A simple explanation of this is pulling weight off of the floor and then standing with legs straight and shoulders back. It’s a fantastic exercise for the posterior chain (the muscles on our backside from the base of the neck to heels) that helps to counter balance all of the sitting that we do. When we sit for long periods, we basically 'turn off’ our muscles like our glutes. Deadlifts are

good also for medium to long-distance runners as their glut-es are generally weaker compared to other leg muscles such as the quadriceps Why I like it - Works more muscles simultaneously than any other movement. It has positive hormonal effect which means that they are very effective at helping you lose weight and build muscle. They also have real life application. Tips - The deadlift is a “hip-hinge” movement. A good way to think about this type of movement is maximal hip bend and minimal knee bend. Imagine trying to push your butt out towards a wall behind you while keeping your back straight and your core braced. To keep pressure off of your spine and lower back muscles, it is important to keep your back straight (do not round your shoulders).

What to train towards - You can begin working on proper movement by lifting a broomstick up off the floor. Then you can begin to pick up a barbell. Typically a deadlift can be done with a barbell but can also be done with other types of weights i.e. dumbbells, kettle bells, and sandbags. Level 1 - Deadlift own bodyweight Level 2 - Deadlift 2x your bodyweight for five repetitions or 2.5x your bodyweight for one repetition Third exercise: Push-up - From a high-plank position, hands under the shoulders, the body is lowered to the floor and ‘pushed’ back up. The full push-up engages every muscle in the body, burns significant calories and tones up the abs quickly. They get the heart rate up and makes you feel like you got an excellent workout in a short amount of time. Why I like it - Push-ups provide major benefits without taking too much time to do. It’s an all-in-one movement that strengths the core, upper body and quads. You can do them anywhere. Tips - Think of your whole body making one fluid movement; lowering to the floor and pushing the floor away, back to beginning position. Head should not ‘jet’ down, it stays in alignment with the spine. If you don’t yet have the strength to lower and raise your bodyweight, start at an incline like the kitchen counter or a barbell racked securing in a squat rack. As you progress you can lower that incline until you can get to the floor.

What to train towards - Ensure that your body is moving in a fluid motion, everything stays in alignment. Progress from incline to floor. Level 1 - Men: 50 non-stop push-ups; Women: 20 non-stop push-ups Level 2 - Incorporate different angels i.e. feet on platform higher than your hands or different balances i.e. hands on un-steady surface like a ball So now you know three exercises for better fitness, better physic, and better health. In next week’s Part 2 you will learn two more of these potent exercises, how I’ve been incorporating them into my training, and my 21-day challenge. To your journey, Lisa Schaffer GreenNote Fitness P.S. Checkout my Facebook page for inspiration. **Do you have a friend that would benefit from this information? Please forward it to them!**

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